Monday, August 11, 2008

Rock Creek, Mammoth

Mommy, Ryan and Kate at Rock Creek. It turned out to be a bit more of a hike in than we had thought but was so beautiful, we were very glad we had made the trek.

So I go into this t-shirt shop, and there is my picture on a magnet! This picture, with the same perspective, and it looked like the same season. The magnet is now on my fridge, and has the words 'Rock Creek' written on the grass.

This trip made us realize we need a new, (faster) camera with a wide angle lens on it! :)

Kate and Ryan are very close, and look to each other as playmates and friends, and for security. Kate will do whatever Ryan tells her to do, and she copies him often...(which may not always be what you would want her to do!)

Mom and Dad.
Check out how clear the water is! I kept visualizing myself in the water on one of those floating pool lounge chairs! Sweeet! It was so peaceful there.

Kevin showing Ryan how to fish. I think Ryan was just happy holding the fishing pole!

Okay, everyone smile and think
'Christmas card photo!'

This picture cracks me up. It was taken by Ryan (as you can probably tell be the perspective). I am saying 'can you see my hands?' Kevin says 'can you see my eyes in the viewfinder?' If we would have just put our silly hands down, it would have been a great picture!

Kevin and Brendan fishing. If you double click on this picture, you can even see Kevin's line being thrown out. (Then just hit the 'back arrow'.)
This is my new computer-screen saver!

Hanging out near the condo in Mammoth

Just walkin', walkin' on the small street outside the condo.

The condo that we stayed in was small, but had three levels. Two sets of bunkbeds on the top "loft", the living room, a very small kitchen and front door/mud room on the mid level, and two bedrooms on the bottom level (w/king-size beds).

Kate decided naps were not to be taken in Mammoth, and that she would wake up during the night and very early in the morning. Loudly. The boys let us know they would prefer to be as far away from the human alarm clock as possible. So, by our last night in Mammoth, she and Kevin were downstairs, and Mom and the boys were upstairs. Sounds fine so far, right?

Well, it's a warm night, so we leave the sliding door of the upstairs loft (above the front door) open during the night. A pack of wolves or coyotes decided the front porch (again, directly below the bedroom window) would be a good place to start barking and howling. I don't think I have ever been that startled out of sleep, and about jumped out of my skin! I told Kevin, (who slept through it-his window being on the back side of the condo) that it sounds ridiculous in the light of day, but this was no peaceful sounding, nature-film howling off in the distance, where you think to yourself 'it's kind of eery, but beautiful to hear them'. This was creepy, scary, screaming sort of something out of a rated-R werewolf movie! I know, you're laughing, aren't you? But when you're awakened by a pack of 'something' 15 feet from your head, in a dead sleep...not funny!

I think I know why they chose our front porch to start their escapade; we had left the mudroom (where people leave their wet skis, muddy boots) light on and the blinds open, and closed the interior door. I think they stopped to look and see what food may be in there.
After they left, I could hear them barking and howling their way down the street. The boys stirred and mumbled in their sleep, but didn't wake up. Well! That was fun.

Kate, Colton and Ryan (I think we've got a Spiderman pose goin' on here.)

If you walk up the street about a block, there is a ski lodge and runs/lifts. This is where Kevin and Kate went for a walk one morning while Mommy took Ryan out alone for a trip to some of the shops. (We got a small stuffed bear and a 'Mammoth' hat, then hit up the Rocky Mtn. Chocolate Factory next door!)

Standing by the condo complex next door.
A grizzly bear statue at the ski lodge up the street. Here we have a nice shot of it's rear end.

One of the ski runs a block away from where we were staying. Can't you just picture it covered in snow?

Most people who meet/know Kate comment on how tall she is...and how happy and bubbly she is. Both comments are good to hear...that she is healthy and happy.

Is that...A BEAR?

So Kevin takes Brendan and Colton to Twin Lakes fishing, about 10 minutes from the condo. They sit there for 2 hours, enjoying themselves, but don't catch anything.

Then, hearing a loud crunch crunch sound of branches breaking in the bushes, look across the knee-deep lake, and see a (brown?) bear, walk up to a boat!

Whoever had used the boat also left their stringer in the water, with 2 med.-size trout attached. The bear pulled in the stringer with his paw (see pic. #2) and ate the fish, as everyone sat there amazed...and a bit nervous! The bear then walked over to the bush to the left of the boat, stepped in the water by the bush, watched the water for less than a minute, then put her head in the water and pulled out a 12" fish! Brendan was duly impressed with her fishing ability!

He realized it was a "her", because it was at this time that everyone noticed a tiny bear cub following along. Brendan said he was so well camouflaged & absolutely dirt colored, that if he hadn't moved, you would have never seen him! (It must've been, because I can't see it in the pictures, and Kevin and the boys assure me there was a cub with her!) She left the same way she had come with baby-in-tow, not along the trail, but crunching branches right through the bushes!

Mono Lake, Mammoth, CA

A sweet, happy little girl, enjoying the afternoon at Mono Lake.

Brendan (13), Colton (9) & Kate (3) with the tufa towers in the background. Doesn't Kate look like a little tourist? :)

Mono Lake has an interesting, but very simple circle of life, and is one of the single most important bird habitats in California.
Besides the 300 species of birds that have been sighted in Mono Basin, about 85% of the nesting population of California sea gulls have their babies at Mono Lake!

The whole tribe (minus Bryson). It was so bright you could hardly see! (as you can tell by me, Kate and Ryan!) It was also very warm, despite the clouds and rain we could see on the other side of Mono Lake.

Kevin and his little buddy.

Kate "adopted" our friends' son Nate, and seemed to look at him as just another brown-eyed brother who showed up.

It wasn't cold, but, that warm breeze could really get going!

The tufa towers behind Brendan took 200-900 years to develop!

Kate imitating our friend Elisabeth walking in the sand.
Kate loves to copy adult behavior.

Mono Lake is one of those places that gets more interesting the more you learn about it. I would like to go back and spend a bit more time reading the info. plaques about it.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Mammoth Mountain, CA

Okay, I had a dream I updated the blog! (This is the same guilt as those unfinished baby books!!)

We're on vacation at Mammoth right now, renting a condo with another family! We've never done anything like this, and it's so fun!, and it is so beautiful!! Every day trip we take has a different look to it. It took us about 7 hours to drive up from San Diego, and we're staying for a week. The area we're staying in is called Mammoth Lakes, CA.

These first 3 pictures were taken on our first day trip was to McLeod Lake; about a 20 minute drive up the mountain, and then a mile long hike further up the mountain (leaving from Horshoe Lake).

One of the things we did the next day was to go to the San Andreas fault line. You know in San Diego, everytime you hear about (or feel!) an earthquake, you hear on the news some reference to the San Andreas fault line. It was weird to actually be standing on the fault line, where the earth had ripped in two! You can't tell from this picture how deep it is (20-60 ft!). There was a patch of show at the bottom that had not melted, and it is August!

Kate trying to look cool. :)

I love this picture of them together. You can tell they love each other.

Afterwards, we went to the Inyo Craters, which were only minutes away.
Kate was a pretty good little trooper about walking the 1/4 mile walk through Jeffrey Pines, and didn't want to hold your hand, but rather march along on her own.

...but by the time we made it to the top of the volcanic crater, a shoulder ride from Dave (her new best friend) was sounding pretty good.

The Inyo Craters are known as "explosion pits", and were formed by volcanic explosions 5-600 yrs. ago. There are two funnel shaped craters (1 and 200 ft. deep), right next to each other. Melted snow and rainwater collect to form a small lake at the bottom of each pit.

We were watching Kate like a hawk afraid she would slip and fall right under the railing. She moves so quickly and is constantly skipping and dancing around. (She always reminds me of a Hummingbird!) On the second crater, there was a second railing put up, as the earth had given way under part of the first one!